BOSTON (CBS) — Thus far through MLB’s investigation into sign stealing, three managers and one general manager have lost their jobs. Zero players have been punished in any way.
Considering commissioner Rob Manfred determined the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme to have been “player-driven” and “player-executed,” that may seem strange. But according to The Wall Street Journal, it’s all a part of Manfred’s plan.
Jared Diamond reported Wednesday that Manfred struck a deal with the MLB Players’ Association to grant players immunity in exchange for their “honest testimony” during the investigation. The Journal cited “several people familiar with the matter.”
The report corroborates ESPN’s Jeff Passan’s report last week, which stated that MLB “gave players immunity in exchange for their testimony.”
In the Journal, Diamond wrote: “The league was quick to make such an offer, these people said, in part because it did not believe it would win subsequent grievances with any players it attempted to discipline. … The deal is a sign of MLB’s desire for a speedy and conflict-free investigation, the continuing power of the baseball players’ union and the fragile state of the sport’s labor relations. The promise of amnesty allowed the league to interview 23 current and former Astros players during the two-month investigation.”
Of course, one player was punished for his role in the Astros’ scheme, because he is no longer a player. Carlos Beltran spent his age 40 season with the 2017 Astros, his final year as a player before taking a job as a special assistant to the GM for the Yankees. He landed the job this past November as the new Mets manager, but he and the team mutually agreed to part ways in the wake of MLB’s investigative findings, ending his managerial career before it officially began.
Like Beltran, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was not officially punished for his role in the Astros’ scheme, but Manfred’s ruling indicated that a severe punishment would be coming once the investigation into separate sign stealing by the Red Sox was finished. Likewise, the Red Sox and Cora mutually agreed to part ways, ending Cora’s managerial run in Boston after just two seasons.
Cora’s eventual punishment is expected to be worse than the one-year ban issued by MLB to former Astros manager A.J. Hinch and former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. Both of those men were fired just minutes after MLB’s findings were released to the public.
In his ruling, Manfred made sure to note that aside from Cora (who was the bench coach for Houston at the time), the sign stealing operation did not involve any non-players on the staff.
“Witnesses consistently describe this new scheme as player-driven, and with the exception of Cora, non-player staff, including individuals in the video replay review room, had no involvement in the banging scheme,” Manfred wrote.
Despite that, no players will face any level of punishment for devising and executing the sign-stealing operation that has shaken the baseball world and has already taken jobs away from four men no longer protecting by the players’ union.
As far as the Red Sox are concerned, the report from the Journal would seemingly indicate that no player punishment will come as a result of the ongoing investigation into use of the video replay room to steal sign sequences from opponents during the 2018 regular season.